Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Cocktails

A very Happy New Year to my NQN readers, your friends and family! I hope that 2008 is filled with lots of fantastic feasts and fun. Speaking of feasts, my sister Blythe gave me Nigella Express for Christmas and I've already earmarked many, many recipes to cook and I thought what better time to start sampling than on the eve of the new year. Nigella's Scallops-on-the-shell was just crying out to be made.

Happy New Year!

The dessert recipe that I chose however is not from Nigella Express as I needed something much simpler and quicker, in fact, its made in 5 minutes although the chilling time is much longer than a few minutes. You'll best make it in the morning or the night before. Its by Rachael Ray who I know some are divided about. I appreciate the swiftness of the cook, if not necessarily her overt enthusiasm as much as her fans do. In any case, its a rather easy dessert to make which can only be a good thing when you've got a NYE outfit to bother with.

So with no further ado, and because I need to get dressed, I have for you, a sample of NYE dishes: two cocktails, an appetiser and a dessert, for of course any day of the year but especially NYE.

Happy New Year! Cocktails

NQN's Balmoral Bathing Beauty

The name is purely arbitrary, we happened to be enjoying these while out on our balcony and looking down at Balmoral Beach.

  • 4 parts apricot nectar chilled

  • 1 part of raspberry vodka (we use Absolut)

  • Raspberry puree

  • cream to decorate

Step 1 - Mix the nectar and raspberry vodka together and pour in martini glass

Step 2 - Add raspberry puree and cream to decorate and make into patterns if you wish.

For a Apricot Bellini:

  • 1 part chilled apricot nectar

  • 3-4 parts chilled Proseco or other fizzy dry white wine

Step 1 - Pour nectar in glass

Step 2 - top with the Proseco

Recipe from _Nigella Express _by Nigella Lawson

Happy New Year!


I can't believe how simple yet luscious these are. I prefer to get my scallops from the fishmomger for this, which is just as well as I don't think I could ever get a supermarket to supply me with shells.

You don't need to take the corals off, but I like to turn this into two meals, and fry up the corals the next day, with some butter and garlic oil and eat them squished onto chunky bread or toast, and spritzed with lemon juice and carpeted with parsley.

These are really a starter, but I certainly wouldn't mind knocking a couple of shell's worth back for a special supper any day of the week.


  • 6 scallop shells

  • 18 scallops o 24 if very small, roes or corals removed

  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs

  • 6 teaspoons butter

  • 1 lime, cut for squeezing

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic oil

  • salt and pepper to taste

Happy New Year! Nigella Express Scallops-on-the-shell

Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 250c/gas mark 9 (you need a really hot oven). Rinse and dry the scallop shells and arrange them on a baking sheet.

Happy New Year! Nigella Express Scallops-on-the-shell

Step 2 - Put the scallops in a bowl and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over them. Toss them around to get each one well coated in crumbs.

Step 3 - Put 3 breaded scallops into each shell and sprinkle with any leftover breadcrumbs that remain in the bottom of the bowl.

Happy New Year! Nigella Express Scallops-on-the-shell


Step 4 - Add 1 teaspoon of butter on top of each scallop filled shell, a squirt of lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Step 5 - Put the scallops in the oven for 15-20 minutes-you really want the breadcrumbs to be crispy and the butter turning black around the edges of the shell.

P.S. I found that these really benefited from a liberal dousing of fresh lime juice just before eating

Happy New Year!

Recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

Chocolate cups in 5 minutes

Happy New Year! Chocolate cups


  • 2/3 cup whole milk

  • 1 egg

  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

  • Pinch salt

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 2 Tbsp. hazelnut liqueur or dark rum

  • 4 demitasse cups

  • 1 cup whipping cream

  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

  • Mint sprigs, for garnish, optional

When planning your menu, make this dessert first to allow these chocolate cups to set and chill.

Step 1 - Heat milk in a small pan over moderate heat until it comes to a boil. In blender or food processor combine egg, sugar, a pinch of salt, semisweet chips and liqueur. Run processor or turn on blender to low setting. Pour in boiling milk in a slow stream. The hot milk will cook the egg and melt the chocolate. Process or blend 1 minute, until smooth.

Step 2 - Spoon chocolate into 4 demitasse cups and chill. After dinner, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add a little sugar and beat to combine. Top the chocolate cups with a dollop of cream and garnish each cup with mint sprigs. Place cups on saucers and serve with demitasse spoons.

If you use teacups, this recipe will yield 2 cups, rather than 4.

Recipe by Rachael Ray

Happy New Year! Chocolate cups

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